Measure K meshes into council meeting

By: Stephanie Dumm, News Messenger Reporter
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Although an hour was devoted to discussion about Measure K, with the promise of more time for discussion after Tuesday’s City Council meeting, the proposed utility users’ tax was brought up several times during the council’s meeting. Two public-safety employees spoke in support of Measure K, though both were currently off duty at the time, during the council meeting’s public-comment portion. “We’re 100 percent committed to Measure K because understand the correlation between public safety and quality of life. I’ve responded to countless vehicle accidents and fires, and no one is immune from having an event in their life that requires the fire department for coming to their aid,” said Aaron Bjorgum, the Protect Lincoln committee spokesman who is vice president of the fire fighters’ association and a Lincoln fire fighter. For me, my family and those I speak on behalf of, the choice is clear: to save our fire department and ensure our public safety,” Bjorgum said. “Our community depends on it.” Steve Krueger, Lincoln’s youth services officer, talked about a car accident involving Lincoln High School students that occurred earlier Tuesday. “I went to the scene and what I saw was every single police officer and fire fighter doing what we do for your kids and grandkids. Because we got there fast, the young man who was injured will be OK,” Krueger said. “I support Measure K. I don’t have kids but I feel like I have 6,500, and for me, Measure K is a solution. I know what’s going to happen if it goes by the wayside, and to think what the accident could have been like if we didn’t have enough people to get there, it really shook me up.” Resident Kristine Miller said she wanted the city’s administrative costs “to be in line with revenue.” “Why, if we have been losing funds consistently for at least the past five years, why would we do that and ask the citizens, ‘Hey, we’re going to bring this tax forward’?” Miller said. “Do what you said before in 1994, lets get this in line and then let’s tax. Until that happens I don’t think we should bring up the utility users’ tax.” Mayor Tom Cosgrove pointed out that the city has cut back city costs for employees, including their retirement funding. “The utility users’ tax implemented in the past was in place when I was on the council, and several months later, we removed it. The difference is that the UUT was imposed on the community without consent, and today we’re offering it as an option,” Cosgrove said. “Four council members were recalled and that’s unfortunate because it was a very difficult situation. I thought the decision made was not bad but the way they (City Council) went about it angered the community.” Resident Susan Hammond spoke about how resident’s “angers and fears are justified but not justified is directing much of those emotions to the City Council, staff and a resolution you may or may not agree with.” “Everyone makes mistakes. It’s how you handle the mistakes and how you deal with them that determines character,” Hammond said. “The City Council, employees and residents are in a situation to decide how to handle the current financial situation and Measure K is being proposed. I’m willing to pay for police and fire for awhile.”